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April 12, 2023
2023-0702

Australian Treasury releases Exposure Draft Bill Multinational tax transparency public country-by-country reporting

  • Exposure Draft legislation and Explanatory Materials released by the Australian Treasury require certain large multinational enterprises to publish specified tax information on a country-by-country basis.
  • The country-by-country reporting entity will be required to publish the specified tax information on an Australian Government website in an approved form for income years commencing on or after 1 July 2023.
  • The proposed amendments may apply to both Australian and foreign groups that meet the country-by-country reporting requirements if any group member is resident in or maintains a permanent establishment in Australia.

Executive summary

The Australian Treasury has released Exposure Draft (ED) legislation and Explanatory Materials (EM) for consultation that includes a proposal requiring certain large multinational enterprises to publish specified tax information on a country-by-country (CbC) basis.

The proposed measure forms part of the Government's Multinational Tax Integrity and Tax Transparency package (see Global Tax Alert, Australian Treasury releases Discussion Paper on new thin cap rules, royalty deduction rules and public tax disclosure rules, dated 5 August 2022) and follows the recent release of ED law for the transparency measure requiring Australian public companies to disclose the number of subsidiaries and their country of tax domicile (see Global Tax Alert, Australian Treasury releases Exposure Draft Bills on thin cap changes and tax transparency disclosure of information, dated 17 March 2023). The Government is still to release ED law for its remaining tax transparency measure, which requires tenderers for Australian Government contracts worth more than $200,000 to disclose their country of tax domicile.

Proposal

The proposed amendments apply to a CbC reporting parent (applying the current law definition — i.e., certain entities that are not controlled by another CbC reporting group entity, with annual global income of $1billion or more) that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is a constitutional corporation, a partnership in which all partners are constitutional corporations, or a trust in which all trustees are constitutional corporations
  • Is a member of a CbC reporting group
  • For which, at any time during the income year, the entity or another member of the CbC reporting group is either an Australian resident or a foreign resident who operates an Australian permanent establishment (PE)
  • Is not otherwise excluded (certain government related entities may be specifically excluded and other entities may be excluded specifically or as part of a class of entities)

Where the rules apply, the CbC reporting entity will be required to publish selected tax information on an Australian government website in an approved form and the Commissioner of Taxation will facilitate publication. Penalties will apply for noncompliance.

The CbC reporting parent is required to publish the names of each entity in the CbC reporting group and a description of the group's approach to tax.

For each jurisdiction in which the CbC reporting group operates, the CbC reporting parent must also publish, at a group level:

  • A description of main business activities
  • Its number of employees
  • Revenue from unrelated parties
  • Revenue from related parties
  • Expenses from related-party transactions
  • Profit and loss before income tax
  • A list (including the value of) intangible assets
  • A list (including the value of) tangible assets
  • Income tax paid (on cash basis)
  • Income tax accrued (current year)
  • Effective tax rate
  • The reasons for the difference between income tax accrued (current year) and the amount of income tax due if the income tax rate applicable to the jurisdiction were applied to profit and loss before income tax
  • The currency used in calculating and presenting the above information
  • Additional requirements as added by regulation

The Commissioner may exempt some entities from providing particular information.

Key dates

The selected tax information must be published within 12 months after the end of the income year to which it relates, although the Commissioner may, by written notice, approve an alternative 12-month period.

The amendments are proposed to apply to reporting obligations for income years commencing on or after 1 July 2023 (2023/24 income year).

Comments on the ED legislation are due by 28 April 2023.

Implications

The proposed changes are very wide in scope and may apply to both Australian and foreign groups that meet the CbC reporting conditions if any group member (under the expanded CbC reporting group definition) is resident in or with a PE in Australia. As such, the proposed changes will require careful review, including to determine their potential application. Impacted groups will need to ensure systems are in place to comply with these new reporting obligations.

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For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young (Australia), Sydney

Ernst & Young (Australia), Melbourne

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Australia Tax Desk, New York

 Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Carolyn Wright, legal editor